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tv   FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace  FOX  May 19, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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this is the pursuit of perfection. >> chris: i'm chris wallace. today the irs scandal. how far does it reach? >> it's inexcusable. americans are right to be angry about it. i am angry about it. >> someone needs to be held responsible. someone needs to be imprisoned. someone needs to be prosecuted. >> this is not just limited to the irs. this is a culture of intimidation. >> the president promises to fix the problem as the white house goes into damage control, and congressional investigations gear up. >> why did you mislead congress and the american people on this? >> mr. chairman, i did not mislead congress, nor the american people.
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>> chris: we'll talk with a member of the president's inner circle, senior advisor dan pfeiffer, and a member of the first committee to probe the scandal, congressman paul ryan. plus, what does this crisis of confidence mean for the president's big government agenda? we'll ask our sunday panel about the storm clouds of distrust gathering over the white house, all right now on "fox news sunday." hello again from fox news in washington. someone described it as hell week for the white house, as the president and top advisors had to confront three major scandals, try to limit the damage to the administration, and to pursue mr. obama's second term agenda. joining us now is the president's senior advisor dan pfeiffer. dan, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> thank you, chris. >> chris: president obama was asked a broad question about the irs scandal this week and gave a narrow answer. let's take a look.
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>> can you assure the american people that nobody in the white house knew about the agency's actions before your counsel's office found out on april 22nd? >> i can assure you that i certainly did not know anything about the ig report before the ig report had been leaked to press. >> chris: so he only talked, the president, about the ig report. the question was broader about any agency irs activities. can you say that no one at the white house knew anything about the irs targeting conservatives before information about the ig report was given to the white house in april? >> yes. the first time, as we said, that anyone heard about this at the white house was when the counsel's office at the treasury department called the white house a few weeks ago to let us know there was an investigation coming to conclusion. we didn't know the details of it. we didn't see the report. we didn't know facts at that point, just that such an investigation was coming to a conclusion. >> chris: you didn't know anything about the idea that the
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irs was targeting conservatives? >> we did know they were targeting political groups. >> chris: you did know that? >> a few weeks ago. >> chris: i'm saying before that. >> no, no one knew that. >> chris: here's the problem with that, because in the congressional hearing on friday the irs's inspector general, russell george, said that he had talked to neal wolin, around june of 2012, in the middle of the presidential campaign, told him he was investigating irs targeting of conservative groups. are we to believe that the number two man in treasury never told tim geithner and tim geithner told again -- again, right in the middle of a presidential campaign -- never told anyone in the white house about something this politically explosive? >> here's the cardinal rule when you deal with situations like this. you never interfere with an independent investigation, you never give the appearance of interfering with an independent
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the treasury department didn't tell anyone in the white house. the treasury department also said that all secretary wolin was performed of was -- informed of was that such an investigation was beginning, and gave the same heads-up to congress, including congressman issa. issa said he didn't talk about it publicly, is when you're dealing with a nonpartisan agency like the irs, you wait until you have the actual facts before you go out and make assertions. >> chris: again, i want to make it clear, you're saying nobody after that meeting between russell george and neal wolin, nobody told the irs that this irs ig investigation was going on? >> that's what the treasury department said and that's what i'm telling you. >> chris: the rise of the tea party, the application for tax exempt group was a big point in the wake of the citizens united ruling by the supreme court, a big issue for democrats. in september of 2010, max
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baucus, the democrat chair of senate finance called on the irs to investigate groups applying for tax exempt status. in 2007, senators urged the irs to beef up scrutiny. dan, weren't the marching orders pretty clear? you had a number of democrats, groups applying for tax exempt status, and you -- >> look at what the independent general said in the report, to congress on friday. there was no outside influences, other than this came directly from the irs. two, that was not necessarily based on political motivation. that's what the independent inspector general said. >> chris: you say "not necessarily based on." >> he said this was a management issue, not political motivation. >> chris: except the irs said something different. the man in charge of the irs tax exempt joseph grant, until he recently announced he's stepping
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down, said part of the reason for the increased scrutiny for certain groups -- this was his direct quote -- in a letter to the inspector general -- numerous referrals to the public, watchdog groups, members of congress. he said, yes, we were getting outside pressure. >> here's the real issue, which is what happened there, whatever the motivation, was outrageous and inexcusable. right now we have to fix the problem, make sure it never happens again, and restore public trust, because it's critical that americans know that the irs is operating entirely in a nonpartisan way. that's what we're focused on. >> chris: on the one hand you have republican groups complaining about the fact that the tea party is being targeted. that was going on all through 2010, 2011, 2012. a number of -- we tacked about congressman issa. republicans were calling on the white house, the irs, saying the tea party groups are getting hammered at the same time that the democrats are calling for more scrutiny.
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you're saying that there was no politics in the irs decision? >> i can only tell you what the independent inspector general said. we'll look at all of this. the president's appoint a new acting commissioner of the irs, a career public servant, who served presidents of both parties, and he'll do a 30-day, top-down review to make sure this never happens again, and that anyone who did anything wrong is held accountable. >> chris: did the president ever feel independently -- forget the irs independent general -- hey, i'm getting heat from democrats to investigate, complaints from republicans, why don't as president step into this? >> no president would get involved in an independent irs investigation. that would be wholly inappropriate. >> chris: even to say, we ought to take a look at this? >> for very good reasons in this town, the white house stays as far as away from the irs and lets them do their business "your world" you say it's wholly inappropriate, and at various points the president has talked about outrage, the anger that he feels, the anger that the
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american people feel. why? anger, outrage, over what? >> because it's critically important that the american people have trust that the irs, which is involved -- has an intimate with people and their finances -- it's critical they know it's done in a nonpartisan way. this was a breach of their trust. regardless of the motivation, regardless of how it happened, it was a breach of the trust, so we have to fix it, restore that trust. >> chris: well, i want to talk about public confidenced and breaches of trust, because an irs official, sarah hall ingram, who was, when all of this started, was in charge of the tax exempt division, is now running the irs implementation of obamacare. is the president, as part of this question of public confidence, is he going to replace her so that people can have confidence as irs -- as obamacare is implemented over the next year or two, and the irs's role in it, that there's no political agenda? >> first it's important to note that this individual was not named in the inspector general's report. no one has suggested she's done
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anything wrong. the acting commissioner will do a 30-day review. everyone who did anything wrong will be held accountable. i think before everyone in this town convicts this person in a court of public opinion with no evidence, let's get the facts and make decisions after that. >> chris: but sarah hall ingram's role in all of this is going to be reviewed? >> a top-down review of the irs, everything will be looked at, but there's nothing to suggest she did anything wrong. >> chris: let's turn to benghazi. he had a meeting with panetta in the afternoon, heard about this on an unrelated subject, wanted them to deploy forces as soon as possible. the next time he shows up, hillary clinton says she spoke to him at around 10:00 that night after the attack at the consulate, not the annex, but the attack at the consulate had
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ended. question, what did the president do the rest of that night to pursue benghazi? >> the president was kept up to do throughout the entire night, from the moment it started till the end. this is a horrible tragedy, people that he sent abroad whose lives are in risk, people who work for him. i recognize that there's a series of conspiracy theories the republicans are spinning about this since the night it happened, but there's been an independent review of this, congress has held hearings, we provided 250,000 pages of -- 250,000 pages of documents up there. there's been 11 hearings, 20 staff briefings. everyone has found the same thing. this is a tragedy. the question is not what happened that night. the question is what are we going to do to move forward and ensure it doesn't happen again? congress should act on what the president called for earlier this week, to pass legislation to actually allow us to implement the recommendations of the accountability review board. when we send diplomats off into
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far-flung places, there's inherent risk. we need to mitigate that risk. >> chris: with all due respect, you didn't answer my question. what did the president do that night? >> kept up to date with the events as they were happening. >> chris: he didn't talk to the secretary of state except for the one time when the first attack was over. he didn't talk to the secretary of defense, he didn't talk to the chairman of the joint chiefs. who was he talking to? >> his national security staff, his national security council. >> chris: was he in the situation room? >> he was kept up to date throughout the day. >> chris: do you know know whether he was in the situation room? >> i don't know what room he was in that night. that's a largely irrelevant fact. >> chris: well -- >> the premise of your question, somehow there was something that could have been done differently, okay, that would have changed the outcome here. the accountability roof board has looked at this, people have looked at this. it's a horrible tragedy, and we have to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> chris: here's the point, though, the ambassador goes missing, the first ambassador in more than 30 years is killed.
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four americans, including the ambassador, are killed. dozens of americans are in jeopardy. the president at 4:00 in the afternoon says to the chairman of the joint chiefs to deploy forces. no forces are deployed. where is he while all this is going on? >> this has been tested to by -- >> chris: well, no. no one knows where he is, who was involved, the -- >> the suggestion of your question that somehow the president -- >> chris: i just want to know the answer. >> the assertions from republicans that the president didn't take action is offensive. there's no evidence to support it. >> chris: i'm simply asking a question. where was he? what did he do? how did he respond in who told him you can't deploy forces and what was his president? >> the president was in the white house that day, kept up to date by his national security team, spoke to the joint chiefs of staff earlier, secretary of state, and as events unfolded he was kept up to date. >> chris: here's one of the reasons people have questions
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about this. this week the white house released 100 pages of emails, all the communications between the various agencies in the two days before such rice came on this and four other sunday talk shows. i just want to put up a couple emails from friday, the 14th, two days before susan rice made her television friday. friday, 6:40 p.m., we'll have edits. i'll waiting for those. 7:39 p.m., victoria nuland to state, talking points could be abused by members of congress to beat the state department for not paying attention to agency warnings. why do we want to see that either? here's what the president's spokesman, jay carney, said about all of this last november. take a look. >> the white house and state department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two -- these two institutions were changing the word consulate to diplomatic facility because consulate was
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inaccurate. >> chris: that's the problem. he says there was a single adjustment by the white house and state. any fair reading of the emails, just the two i read, that's totally misleading. >> i think we should look -- now that the emails are out, everyone can look at them -- one of the problems, there's so much controversy here -- one of the emails was doctor by a republican source, given to the media to falsely smear the president. >> chris: i'm not talking about that. >> no, i know, but that's an important point. the emails you're referring to were provided to congress two months ago. congress didn't say a word, bat an eye. they were provided in the context of john brennan's confirmation for cia director. after seeing the emails, they approved him with a large bipartisan vote. what's clear from the emails are three things. first the idea that there was a protest is in every version of
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the talking points put forward, edited and written by the cia. >> chris: no. >> yes. >> chris: i just read it this morning. they say the protests were inspired by a attack in cairo. >> the point is that the -- the argument here has been, from republicans, is that it was -- had nothing to do with the protest, that was somehow fabricated by the administration for political reasons. >> chris: what about the talking points and -- >> the inspiration is that -- >> chris: what happened in cairo, but no demonstration against the video in benghazi? >> the fact that that happened is why people are -- second thing in the talking points is that the references to terror and al-qaeda were removed, not by the white house, the state department, but by the cia >> chris: the state department was demanding it be removed. >> the challenge was to get it
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right in a challenging information, and two to protect the integrity of the investigation. in the actual email that was released, not the doctor version, the actual email, the white house involvement here is to say we have to provide the equities, particular the investigation, because that's what's important, because we want to bring these people to justice. >> chris: all right. >> as it relates to the doctor email, is congressman issa as interested in tracking down the republican who doctor this email and released it? >> chris: we'll agree to disagree on the emails. one last question for you, because we're running out of time. some critics say, when you take a look at the scandals, the confluence of the scandals, ap, benghazi, irs, that it raises questions about the president's activity government solutions to problems, and they also note how often the president says that he found out about any problems when all the rest of us did. take a look. >> i first learned about it from the same news reports that i
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think most peop abt this. >> he found out about the news reports yesterday on the road. >> everyone knows, the president did not know about this tactic till he heard about it through the media. >> it was something we found out about along with all of you. >> chris: how can people have confidence in the president's programs when so often -- this isn't just coming from republicans conspiracy -- you're seeing this in the mainstream media. so often he seems to be a bystander to the problems in his own administration. >> that's an absurd proposition. we're talking about the irs, the department of justice investigation. what would be a real problem -- >> chris: and fast and furious. >> also a department of justice investigation. what would be a problem if he was involved in those things. the cardinal rule is you don't get involved in independent investigations and don't give the appearance of doing things. the question, now when problems come forward, how does the president react? in the case of the irs, within a fe hours, he'd met with the
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treasury department, addressed the nation, and taken action, including the -- asking for the resignation of the acting irs commissioner. it's how you respond to those problems. that's what the president did >> chris: dan, thank you. >> thank you. >> chris: you just heard the white house response to the irs scandal and other controversies. next we'll sit down with one of the top republicans demanding answers, congressman and former vice presidential nominee, paul ryan.
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to enjoy all of these years. >> he didn't mention targeting based on buzzwords like tea party or patriots or 9/12. you knew that, but didn't mention this to the committee. do you not think that's an incomplete answer? >> i answered the question truthfully. >> chris: paul ryan asking commissioner miller why he didn't ask serious questions about the irs targeting certain groups. congressman paul ryan joins us to talk about the irs scandal and the president's other problems. congressman, welcome back. >> thanks for having me, chris. good morning. >> chris: let's start with your question to acting commissioner miller. why do you think he and other top officials did not tell congress when they learned a year ago, in may of 2012, about the political targeting of conservative groups? do you think who was just a
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bureaucracy trying to protect itself or had something to do with the fact we were in the middle of a presidential campaign? >> i don't know the answer to that question. i'm not necessarily going to speculate. we'll investigate and find the answer to that question. chris, what we do now know is that for roughly two years the irs was targeting americans based upon their political beliefs. what we do now know is that the irs misled congress. you have to understand, the ways and means committee opened this investigation about two years ago, asked repeatedly these questions to the irs, and they withheld this information from congress. so that's what we now know. so we're going to continue this investigation, get to the bottom of this. who knew, what did they know, why did they do this, how high up in government did it go? i mean, look, people have no trust that their government is being impartial. this is arrogance of power, abuse of power, to the enth degree, and we're going to get to the bottom of this. so i don't know the answer to your question. we're going to find out. >> chris: you just heard dan pfeiffer, he says that nobody in the white house knew about this
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until the ig's report was relayed to them in late april, or the fact of it was relayed to the white house counsel. do you have any evidence that information about the political targeting of conservatives went either to the treasury department or to white house officials before what the white house is saying? >> we don't know the answer to that. this is just the beginning of this investigation. remember the inspector just did an audit, not an investigation, like emails and things like that. the inspector general told us at the hearing they're in the midst of an investigation. what we received the other day is an audit which revealed they misled congress, targeting people and their political beliefs. we have credible evidence that donors were harassed and intimidated. the point is we don't know the answer to that. >> chris: what's the difference between an audit and an investigation? what are you saying they've done, what are you saying they
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haven't done? >> an audit is a measurement of behavior, what actually occurred. an investigation, they didn't look at emails, didn't look at intent, who was in the chain of information. so none of that information has been acquired yet. that's what the ig is doing now. that's what our congressional overseers are doing now as well. all we have is a simple audit. we don't have a thorough investigation. that's not the report we got. that is what is now occur. so we just don't have the answers to all those questions. that's what we're going to find out. >> chris: during the hearing on friday, commissioner miller said that the targeting of conservative groups, the tea party and other conservative groups, was simply a bureaucratic effort, an efficiency move, if you will, to try to deal with this big spike in groups, political groups, after the citizens united supreme court ruling, who were asking for tax exempt status. i want to go to the inspector general's report on that, because he said that 298 groups received special scrutiny.
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of those 96 were tea party type groups. that means, then, congressman, that 2/3 of the groups that received special scrutiny were not tea party-type groups. >> chris, what we also know from just this one hearing is that groups with the word progressives, or organizing, groups with liberal persuasion, did not have this targeting. they went through, were approved. so we know that they specifically targeted people based on their political beliefs, based on people who had suspicion of the size and direction of government, based on tea party and 9/12 and patriots. we know for sure they targeted people for their political beliefs, based on religious beliefs contrary to the presidents' positions. we have credible evidence that donors were targeted, that the irs leaked private information to the public, which served political purposes. so there's so much more that we have just uncovered that we do not know the root causes of.
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and so to suggest that this is some bureaucratic snafu, that's been disproven, chris. the other point i'd say, as bad as this is, the person in charge of this bureaucratic snafu has now been put in charge of obamacare. the irs will have unprecedented power over our healthcare in the implementation of obamacare. this is rotten to the core. this is arrogance. this is big government cronyism. this is not what hard-working taxpayers deserve. people deserve a government they can trust, that's honest, that's impartial, equality before the law, and that's not what we're getting here. to try to suggest that this is just bureaucratic snafus, we already know that's not true. >> chris: congressman, let's turn to benghazi. you say -- you said this week -- there's no doubt that the obama administration, your words "no doubt," engaged in a cover-up of benghazi in their use of the talking points, but president
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obama pointed out this week that susan rice appeared on the sunday talk shows, and just three days later matt olson, head of the national counterterrorism center, told congress that it was an act of terror. take a look at what the president said. >> who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? so the whole thing defies logic. >> chris: congressman, does the president have a point there, a three-day cover-up? >> look, chris, what we now know from congressional testimony is that the number two man in benghazi, the deputy chief of mission informed his superiors, including the secretary of state, that this was a terrorist attack. those of us who have had the briefings, seen the videos, know there was no protest involved. to suggest afterwards that this was the result of a spontaneous protest we now know is not the case. so the burden of proof here is
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on the administration's side. it is why did they continue to push this kind of a story when they knew nearly immediately afterwards that that was not the case? so that's really the question. by the way, they released some emails, not everything. we've only seen parts of this story. the point here, chris, is not that this is some -- this is not a partisan endeavor. this is what is the truth and why was the truth intentionally distorted? we want to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. people deserve honest government, deserve to be told the truth by their government. that's not what here getting here, what it's the hss, irs, or the state department. >> chris: you say it's not partisan, but the fact is you had a big stake in all of, this because at the very time that all of the talking points were coming down, you were mitt romney's running mate, trying to unseat president obama. do you believe that the white house purposely misled the
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american people on benghazi to try to beat you and mitt romney and win the election? >> i don't know the answer to that question, so i'm not even going to speculate, but that's what good oversight does. that is what this investigation is all about, which is why did they continue to perpetuate this story, which they knew was not true, and what was the reason for doing so? so rather make a conclusion before an investigation has been completed, we just need to investigate this for the sake of good government. that's what the legislative branch does, what the separation of powers is all about. accountability of the executive branch by the legislative branch. so i don't want to speculate as to why and what they did until we have all of the information. i think what we know right now is that they were misleading. >> chris: we have less than two minutes left, congressman. when you look at all these scandals -- irs, the subpoena of the ap records, benghazi, around as i pointed out to dan pfeiffer how often, when these things come down the president's says
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"well, i just learned about it when everybody else did" -- what do you think it says about this president in his second term? >> the way i look at this, chris, you mentioned the last campaign, governor romney and i we had to campaign against big government in theory. president obama passed his agenda, but didn't implement his agenda. we had to campaign against his rhetoric, empty promises. now we're seeing big government in practice. now we're seeing the arrogance, the cronyism in practice in this second term. that is even ugly than big government in theory. this is what's disturbing about this, which is, you know, we had -- we had a challenge in campaign against empty rhetoric, now the country is seeing what this kind of unlimited big government in practice. that's not a pretty picture. this is why we have to do our jobs to bring accountability so the federal government, to bring trust back to the hard-working taxpayers. unfortunately i think we'll go through a painful exercise in this country where we learn that these abuses are occurring, and
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our rights as citizens are being infringed upon. >> chris: congressman ryan, we have to leave it there. thank you so much for coming in today and talking with us. always a pleasure to talk with you, sir. >> thanks, chris. >> chris: coming up, we'll have more on putting out the firestorm at the irs. >> i promise you this, that the minute i found out about it, then my main focus is making sure that we get the thing fixed. >> chris: we'll ask our sunday panel can the president get out ahead of this scandal. goals: help the gulf recover, and learn from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i've been with bp for 24 years. i was part of the team that helped deliver on our commitments to the gulf - and i can tell you, safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge safety equipment and technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all our drilling activity, twenty-four-seven. and we're sharing what we've learned,
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>> i just think the american people have seen what's going on right now in their government. this is an absolutely an overreach, an outrage for all of america. he yield back. >> all right. >> chris: republican congressman mike kelly strikes a chord at friday's irs hearing, expressing outrage over the political targeting of conservatives. it's time for our sunday group. brit hume, fox news senior political analyst, kirsten powers of the daily beast website, gop guru, karl rove, and former democratic congressman dennis kucinich. we need a better word than guru. >> either that or i start wearing saffron robes. >> chris: i would think you'd agree we're a long way from watergate at this point, but how serious is the irs scandal and how do you think the obama administration is doing, the white house, at handling it? >> i think it's quite serious. we don't know how far it goes, the dimensions and so on. two things about it.
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the reason whyis problematic for the administration is -- one is that this action coincided with the political interests of the obama team, that is to say the action was taken overwhelmingly against conservative groups. the second thing is, that the administration has had trouble telling the truth about it. i mean, as recently as the other day, you had on his way out acting director saying on the hill, arguing with the idea that anyone was targeted, and then, of course, congress had asked for information, which was not forthcoming when the irs higher-ups found out about it, that never -- congress was never told. another case where there's been difficulty telling truth. you put those two together, you've got a combustible mix, of what scandals are made. the same with benghazi as well, coincided with the administration's interest not to have a big deal made out of it
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in the middle of the campaign, and the administration has had a terrible time telling the truth about it. >> chris: kirsten, irs? >> i agree with brit, the way they're handling it. one of the talking points, the irs talking point, there was a big surge we got in applications, and so we had to create these terms. well, then "the atlantic" did a story, saying this is absolutely false. there was no huge surge of applications. so that's not true. second of all, progressive groups were not targeted as far as we know. so this is transparent politically. the question is why? who's the person who instigated it? you know, we know that the treasury department now knew about it. they say it was an investigation, there's nothing we could do. but look, they were having hearings on the hill about this, and a lot of this was being brought to light. to me, if the white house is really concerned about it, it does seem like it's something they could tamp down if they wanted to. >> chris: karl, a couple of questions for you. you were one of the undersros gn
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crossroads, the super pac. first of all, why should a group like crossroads gps, so deeply involved in politics, qualify for tax exempt status as a social welfare group, and didn't? whether there's a surge or not, didn't the irs have a problem in the wake of the citizens united superior court ruling for qualifying under the tax code? >> look, 501c4s have been around for a long time, and the democrats on the left have used these for years, these social welfare groups to do some politics and a lot of social welfare. naacp voter fund, for example, ran a $10 miion advertising blitz in 2000 against george w. bush. the league of conservation voters, the sierra club, planned parenthood, national abortion rights action league, all of
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them are 501c4. you have to spend a majority of your money on social welfare and a minority of resources on political activity. there are very clear definitions of what constitutes political activity and what doesn't. what happened is, the democrats had for decades, literally decades, and no criticism at all. then republicans began in 2010 to say, wait a minute, if it's good enough for them, we'll duplicate that structure as well. then suddenly we get what we get, which is a huge bunch of activity aimed at conservative groups filing as 501c4. the only advantage of a 501c4, it allows you to trach your contributions as income and not pay taxes on them. >> chris: and also the donors aren't revealed. >> because it's a social welfare organization. this literally goes back to the 1940s when criminal penalties were added for the revelation by the irs of donors because southern attorney generals were attempting to get the donors to
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the naacp. >> chris: congressman kucinich, how do you see the extra scrutiny the conservative groups got? was this a bureaucratic move, an efficiency move, or political targeting? >> there's evidence to suggest that there was political targeting. you have to look at the context. these 501c4s, call it social welfare, but they're political organizations. the question is, does the irs have the ability anymore to audit these organizations? that's a problem, chris, because we're not now looking at whether or not anybody can put together a 501c4 after citizens united and be able, under the ageis of social welfare engage in blatant political activity. what happened with the irs is absolutely wrong and needs to be condemned. people need to be held accountable, but we have to be careful about giving a free pass to all these people where all of a sudden in the 501c4 business of social welfare.
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>> chris: we're running outing of time, brit. to make things more touchy for the obama white house, the woman who used to be in charge of the tax exempt division, sarah hall ingram, has a new job, and republicans are jumping all over it. take a look. >> turns out that the irs official who oversaw the operation that's under scrutiny for targeting conservatives is now in charge of the irs's obamacare office. you can't make this stuff up. >> chris: brit with public doubts according to the polls growing about obamacare as it gets closer to implementation, this isn't going to help. >> no. think about what 84 going miller said on the hill the other day when asked why why he's on his way out, and he said he wasn't personally involved in doing this, didn't bring this about, but has to be held accountable for it. well, if he does, presumably she does. her promotion into this new and increasingly important job is a little hard to defend it seems to me. i don't see how it could be
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sustained. she may have known nothing about all this, but it was happening on her watch in a unit which she supervised. if he's gone, she should be gone. >> chris: 30 seconds. >> dan pfeiffer said she was ignorant, so therefore she should be allowed to be in charge of obamacare. here's the woman in charge of the division, completely ignorant of what was going on underneath her, and she should be in charge. these responsibilities. >> chris: we have to take a break. what do the president's problems tell us about his prospects for his agenda in his second term?
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>> chris: they've been part of the washington scene for more than 30 years. >> that's the type of experience in government, it's absolutely wonderful. >> chris: stay tuned. we'll be right back. ♪
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♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. this is a stunning work of technology. the 2013 lexus es and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. >> nothing dissolves the bonds between the people and their government like the arrogance of power here in washington. that's what the american people are seeing today from the obama administration. remarkable arrogance. >> chris: house speaker john boehner suggesting the president's problems this week with the irs, benghazi, the subpoena of the ap phone records
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make a bigger point about his approach to governing. we're back now with the panel. karl, that's the narrative republicans are pushing this week, that president obama supports, advocates, activist government solutions, and that these scandals -- irs, ap, benghazi -- show the danger of big intrusive government. how much traction do you think that government has? >> i think it's an. question. it depends on how the investigations and hearings go in the next couple weeks. i think there's a more fundamental problem the administration faces, and that is its credibility. each one of these things involves its credibility. you know, look, the president is responsible in part by the irs by setting the tone. it was he who went to buoy state university in october of 2010 and called the 501c4s a, quote, threat to democracy. i can imagine some low-level bureaucrat in cincinnati saying, boy, let's get revved up about this because the president says it's a threat to democracy. similarly his words on benghazi got him in trou wor
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through his agent susan rice saying this was a anti-muslim video which sparked a ptest in benghazi. credibility matters. that's being reflected in the polls. there's a pugh poll out that says that less than the normal number of people are paying attention to benghazi, but of those that have been watching it, 37% say it says it proves the president's honesty, 40% saying it proves he's dishonest with the people. this is even more problematic than arrogance of power. >> chris: congressman kucinich, after a week like this, particularly with the justice department subpoenaing these records, with the irs targeting people, won't more americans see government as the problem, not the solution? >> well, the first problem we have here is that there are some who can only see the wrongs of the president and the other party. i mean, we still haven't had president bush, for example, account for why he took us into
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war in iraq, all the dead soldiers as a result, the dead iraqis. >> oh, please. a bipartisan committee looked into that. stop defending obama and blaming push. that's gotten tired. >> you just can't attack president obama and not look at what president bush do. >> a commission looked into it from top to bottom. move on. >> chris: move on in any case. so what's your point, though, about government? >> my point is, look, president obama hasn't done anything about the unemployment problem. we have massive amounts of people who are out of work. the oxygen that's being sucked out by some of these scandals may limit the white house, but he still has to be held accountable for not creating the jobs. we have about 8 million people out of work, about another 8 million people working part time and shouldn't be. we need an economic agenda. we don't have it. as far as government being too bad, national security state, too big. military, which goes brood and
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creates wars -- goes abroad and creates wars, too big. >> chris: the white house is putting out the word, that this president, despite his problems, he'll deal with his problems, is determined to pursue his agenda on immigration, jobs, the budget, on energy. but again as somebody who's been around a while n the middle of these scandals -- >> no, it's radio silence. it happens in campaigns, too, when you get some blunder. it's all the news coverage is about. it does suck up all the oxygen in the capital city, and it's hard to move an agenda forward. there's also this point, you're beginning to see a line of defense emerging on these cases, these three cases, which basically is, yeah, we screwed up. cheryl axelsson of cbs news has an interesting story in which senior white house officials, unnamed, are talking about benghazi, what they didn't do that night. we should have sent the emergency team, screwed up.
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this is an incompetence defense. same thing with the irs. bungling in the cincinnati office, they're blamed. you see it emerging perhaps with regard to the subpoenas -- or monitoring of the phone calls of the ap reporters. and that is that somebody overdid it, overcooked it, went too far. the problem with all of that is at the core of liberalism is the idea that government is a great mediating force, acting on behalf of the national electorate to balance the competing interests of people, to protect the weak from being dominated by the strong, and so on, and that government agencies can and should do this fine work and are well capable of doing it. when you have simultaneously three scandals affecting different people, and the white house, and it's chalked up to bungling, it diminishes the argument for that side of the political divide. >> chris: kirsten, what about that argument? that's what the republicans are
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saying now, this president wants big government solutions, activist government solutions. this shows government has serious problems. >> well, first of all, i think there's a difference between activists and big government. i agree with obama, that the government can be an ultimate force for good in the world. i don't think any of this is an argument against liberalism. these are all bad -- it's bad behavior by people in the government. in each of these situations. i mean, nothing about benghazi imputes anything bad upon liberalism. this is specific to the administration mishandling something. >> chris: how about the idea of the irs handling the role of obamacare? >> they'll be overseeing whether a person has complied with the mandate. they'll be doing some -- >> chris: enforcement. >> yeah, but they're not looking at people's medical records. >> chris: i understand. >> this idea they'll be overseeing our healthcare is incorrect. so, you know, i just -- i think it's -- it's a narrative that will work with people who want that to be the narrative, i
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think, that this is bad for liberalism. but look, when obama came in, there already was no trust of the government. it was 17%, was the number of people who trusted our government, a historic low. it's the lowest it's ever been in history. so, you know, i think that he was coming in already with a very, very heavy lift. >> chris: karl, there was a story in the papers over the wound that the white house chief of staff had met with top aides in the west wing and said, i want you to spend no more than 10% of your time on any of these scandals. how realistic is that? you've been in the middle of some of these scandals in the bush white house. how consuming are they? >> good luck, good luck. look, it will consume as much time as is needed. look, we'll have three or four weeks, or five or six weeks, of hearings and debate back and forth on capitol hill. it's going to consume a lot of time. this narrative of not being able to get things done, it's not just the government can't get things dune, it is president obama can't get things done.
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right after the election, a poll, 57% of american people thought the president was able to get things done. 37% said he was not. after the year thus far, in which the budget, the sequestration, all of this, the administration has fallen flat, it's now 49% say you can get things done, down 8%, and can't get things done up 46%. with the coming battle over the debt ceiling, the budget, all this, i think this is going to get worse, not better. >> chris: you have a poll for everything, don't you? >> i've only offered up two today. >> chris: but they're just appropriate. thank you, panel. see you next week. check our panel plus, where our group picks up with the discussion on our website,, and follow us on twitter @"foxnewssunday". upho next, our power players of the week. copd includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. spiriva is a once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that helps open my obstructed airways for a full 24 hours.
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standing by for capture. the most innovative software on the planet... dragon is captured. is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers. >> chris: they've been part of the washington scene since the '80s at the center of some of this town's biggest scandals. while you've undoubtedly seen them, chances are know little about them. so here are up close and personal, our power players of the week. >> we get hired because we are from washington, of washington, we understand congress, we understand the justice department. >> and we really care. >> there they were in a big congressional hearing a few days ago, the husband and wife legal team, representing two state department whistleblowers, speaking out on benghazi. >> honestly do you like these
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high-profile cases? >> absolutely. it's fun. beyond that, it's professionally rewarding, because these things matter. this is part of history. >> chris: they've been part of the washington scene for more than 30 years. she worked for the reagan justice department, helping set up the terrorism unit. he was the u.s. attorney who prosecuted corruption inside the administration of former d.c. mayor marion barry. >> great memories of public service that you take with you the rest of your life. you can never duplicate that. that type of experience in government is wonderful. >> chris: since 1998, they've been in private practice together, handling big cases, commenting on others. >> he controls a lot of things. he threatens a lot of people. >> chris: you guys like appearing on tv, don't you? >> yes, but most always until recently about somebody else's cases. >> chris: they met at an equal rights amendment rally at the 1980 republican convention. >> i had 30 pins with me that i
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was selling for a big $3 apiece. >> said how many of those pins do you have? she said 30. i said how much are they? $3 apiece. i said i'll take them all. >> chris: 10 months later they had their wedding reception in the senate caucus room. i don't think of you as mellow people. how do you get along? >> great. we travel all over the world together, work together. >> it's never boring. >> chris: he's almost as well known for his singing as his lawyering. but there's no time for that now. representing two benghazi whistleblowers and they think more to come. she says she got involved after hearing from one of their national security contacts the obama administration was lying. >> they said, what our government is telling us is wrong. it's not correct. and so i cared about it from that moment on. >> chris: they are one of the
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town's real power couples, and they thoroughly enjoy it. >> to be able to talk to each other and know that you have the confidentiality, not only of lawyer to lawyer, but husband to wife, the cross-section of law and politics in washington, d.c. is the lifeblood of this city, and to be in the middle of it is absolutely spectacular. >> chris: joe says he was the confirmed bachelor before he met victoria. when i asked whether she has softened him these last 20 years, he says he still has rough edges, but he's a better person for being married to her. now this program note. next week, a special interview with former senate majority leader bob dole as he approaches 90. he looks back on his extraordinary life of service to country. you won't want to miss it. that's it for today. have a great week. we'll see you next "fox news sunday." look at them kids. [ sigh ]
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